A body found recently in a river in Chiba Prefecture has been confirmed as that of a 7-year-old girl who went missing in late September, investigative sources said Thursday.

The body was identified using DNA analysis as that of Saya Minami, a first grader from the city of Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture.

According to local authorities, the body was discovered Tuesday in the Edo River, around 15 kilometers downstream from where the girl's shoes and socks were found on a riverbank on Sept. 24, the day after she went missing.

The girl went alone to a park near her home at around 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 23 and was nowhere to be found when her mother arrived there around five minutes later. The kick scooter the girl had with her was found later that day at a park in neighboring Nagareyama.

Chiba Prefectural Police said Wednesday that an autopsy conducted on the girl showed that she probably died by drowning. She had no major visible injuries, and between one and two weeks were determined to have passed since she died, police said.

Police have conducted an extensive search along the river since she went missing.

People brought flowers and and drinks near to the site where the body was found. "I feel so sorry," said a woman in her 80s living nearby. Another woman, 52, said, "It must have been cold," as she laid flowers.